Curious about the effects of the percolating writers' strike on your favorite TV shows? Today's Variety has a round-up of worst-case scenarios—worst-case depending on your personal feelings about television in general, of course—that could happen should the Writers Guild not reach an agreement with the studios by the time their contract expires tonight at midnight. (And judging by the terse negotiations so far, a strike as early as next week seems highly possible.) So what exactly are we looking at here?

Late-night shows

Variety says:
"The canaries in TV's creative coal mine are latenight hosts such as David Letterman and Jay Leno, whose monologues and sketches are dependent on union writers. If history is any guide, both shows will almost instantly go dark, as would Saturday Night Live. Comedy Central's latenight stalwarts The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report would also likely switch to repeats in the immediate aftermath of a strike.

'Boom — our show just shuts down,' said
SNL vet Amy Poehler. 'It's just done. There is no backlog of scripts.'

Freshmen series

Variety says:
"Cruelest blows will hit the frosh crop of shows that are just starting to get a toehold with viewers, including ABC's Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, and Samantha Who and CBS' The Big Bang Theory…Most likely, original episodes will start disappearing by early December or January."

Returning shows

Variety says:
"Then there's Lost. Fans have been waiting patiently for the ABC show's February launch and the promise of 16 uninterrupted episodes. That pledge, of course, will be partly kept if only eight episodes are ready to go this year. But rather than wait to pair them with the other eight, ABC will still air what it has, as scheduled…Fox will face a similar decision with 24, which usually is far ahead of schedule but this year is playing catch-up due to creative problems early in the season…The Simpsons has recorded 21 of 22 episodes for this year's batch, but 'recorded doesn't mean they're done,' [executive producer Al Jean] said. 'They still need rewriting.'"


says: "Of course, in some cases, the strike talk has helped underperforming skeins stay on the air longer. Insiders believe Cavemen would have otherwise been yanked weeks ago, but no one's eager to dump original scripted fare right now (with a few exceptions), since there may be a need for it later on."

(Sorry to be a downer on Halloween. Here, check out some "cinematic" pumpkins.)